January 6, 2018 – Fort Russ News – Paul Antonopoulos – Translated from Nova Resistencia.
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Incredibly, the number of kilometers of railway used today by Brazil is the same as in the Brazilian Empire, more than 100 years ago. The size of the rail network in countries such as the US, Germany, Russia, Japan and China has grown several times since then, and its use is efficiently interconnected to ports, highways and waterways.
Investment in railways is difficult to reconcile with the democratic mindset. In general, the politician of democracies does not have a national project, nor does he wish to contribute to a national project. National projects involve long-term planning and invest in goals whose fruits will only be harvested after decades.
The democratic mentality, however, works with 4-year cycles. Only what matters can help to win the next elections, and investments in infrastructure are not very useful in this. In this, so-called “authoritarian” governments (but only have a sound understanding of the administration of power) have clear advantages. The American exception was due to the anti-liberal influence of Hamiltonianism during the nineteenth century and to the semi-authoritarian “carte blanche” of post-Lincoln governments.
Nevertheless, when we talk about the expansion of the railway network, about a true RAILWAY of cargo transportation (and also human) in Brazil, we are dealing with a sine qua non conditio of national development. The expansion of the railway network has historically been the spearhead of the industrialization of countries that today can be considered fully industrialized and developed.
The superiority of rail transport over road transport is immense. Rail transport allows the distribution of goods in a much shorter time and perishable goods such as food, and this means a much smaller waste. It is also much more difficult for rail accidents to happen, for trains to be assaulted, and there are no traffic jams on railroads.
Consequently, lower costs because of smaller losses and possibly lower prices in all sectors of the economy. Ferrovification of Brazilian transport is also the only way to ensure the efficient occupation of the still sparsely inhabited spaces in the North and Midwest, as well as in the interiors of other regions, and extinguish the swollen megalopolis.
On the other hand, the choice of road transport comes from the subordinate role of Brazil in the international scenario, which has rushed to build only highways in all regions, terrified by the need to occupy the interior of the country (it is faster to build highways than railroads) , but mainly because of the pressure of the car manufacturers of the industrialized countries, from the JK government. Brazil prioritized the transportation of cargo by road was advantageous for these automakers and, therefore, we accept this subjection.
However, there are some voices who say that the railroad belongs to the past, that it has no efficiency, and that the cost-benefit ratio is not favorable. Nevertheless, the major world powers do not think so. One of the only economic constants in the US in the last 25 years, regardless of the party in government, has been an emphasis on expanding the rail network, focusing on increasing efficiency, capacity and intermodality.
The railroad also occupies a central place not only in Chinese economic projects, but in its geopolitical strategy of confrontation with the US. The so-called “New Silk Road,” one of the largest logistical and infrastructure projects in the history of mankind, has begun operations, and despite costing more than $ 1 trillion, profits will be multi-millionaires.
In the Russian case, one of Putin’s first moves in power was to initiate the revitalization and recovery of the national rail network, abandoned and shattered after the Soviet collapse, and a few years ago the expansion of the Trans-Siberian Railway has been planned.
That is: The railroadization of the logistics and infrastructure system was not only fundamental to the industrialization of all the countries that can be considered developed or industrialized, it is still central to guarantee the economic success of all these countries.
As in most issues, Brazil is still paralyzed in the Old Republic, and the current process of de-industrialization represents a bleak tendency that tends to further weaken our railway network, fragmented among numerous concessionary companies, most of which do not make any investment in infrastructure and are only interested in sending profits to shareholders.
There is no getting around. Our development will be impossible while we are still completely dependent on road transport.
Development is a destination that can only be reached by train.